Wednesday, November 13, 2013

‘Sweetie’ Snags Child Predators

“In a very short period, over 20,000 predators from around the world approached the virtual 10- year-old asking for webcam sex performances.” – Terre des Homes
Terre des Homes (TDH), an international child rights organization, is using Computer Graphic Imaging (CGI) to fight child pornography by creating “Sweetie,” a virtual, computer-generated 10-year old Filipina girl. Through "Sweetie," the organization has been able to track down over a thousand child predators from more than 65 countries.
Hans Guyt, director of campaigns at TDH in the Netherlands, said in an interview with Deutsche Welle, a German online newspaper, discovered that children are being made to work inside internet shops in poverty stricken areas around the world. Guyt said these children are often being forced by their parents.
“We noticed that a lot of child prostitutes had just disappeared from view. They are now working from Internet cafes and that’s how we first got interested in this particular subject. We also found out that more children are actually exposed to this new phenomenon,” Guyt was quoted saying in the report.
“With an innovative technology the virtual character Sweetie was created to be controlled by Terre des Hommes researchers. From a remote building in Amsterdam the researchers operated in public chat rooms. In a very short period, over 20,000 predators from around the world approached the virtual 10- year-old asking for webcam sex performances. While the adults interacted with the virtual girl, the researchers gathered information about them through social media to uncover their identities.”
According to the TDH’s data, United States topped the list of countries where child predators were identified with 254, followed by Britain with 110 and India with 103. The TDH has handed the video footage of the child predators to police authorities.
But, the fight is far from over.
"Sweetie" shows that child pornography is very much real and continues to proliferate across the world. And it often begins within poverty. Children who come from impoverished backgrounds are faced with everyday struggles to survive. They are forced to find sources of income through any means. This vulnerability is being used and abused by sexual exploiters who run cybersex dens and employ these children to perform sexual acts in exchange for a small amount of money.
For instance, a joint inquiry by Transparency International, United Nations and US Department of State, which revealed that 300,000 to 400,000 Filipina women fell victim to human trafficking. Sixty to 100,000 of them are children. Data also showed 80 percent of women victims of human trafficking are below 18 years old. The study identified poverty as the main vulnerability afflicting women and children.
This is clearly a reflection of how a growing number of young girls from are falling prey to cyber prostitution and pedophile syndicates. Adding to "Sweetie’s" credibility as a subject in this project is the reality of poverty that forces women and girls to cyber prostitution.

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